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Blurring Live Text with a Drop Shadow

I realize I owe you lovers of the graphic arts a Part 2 to my Illustrator Transparency, Photoshop Resolve article. (If that sounds familiar, it's because I copied and pasted that sentence from last week.) But given that not a single person has expressed a problem with my delaying Part 2 -- which makes me cry real, actual, enormous crocodile tears (below) -- I'm guessing you're okay waiting.

In the meantime, I discovered something quite by chance today that made me geek out and do the d'oh, slap-my-head, I-can't-believe-I-never-figured-that-out-before thing.

Here's the idea: Photoshop does not let you blur live text. Well, all right, that's a lie. Photoshop does let you blur live text if you first convert the text to a smart object. But that's a Big Italicized If. Converting text to a smart object restricts your access to it and requires you to edit the text in a separate window, which is an increduloppus painoloopamus in the hippopotamus. Read more » 

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Low-Angle: It's for the Children

I realize I owe you lovers of the graphic arts a Part 2 to my Illustrator Transparency, Photoshop Resolve article. And I'll get to it, don't you fret. But this week I got a wild hair up my nose. I say "nose" knowing full well that Colleen will give me crap for censoring myself. (Compare this to dekePod, where I vigilantly defend my every naughty utterance). But you see, this week, I have to self-censor because, this week, I'm givin' it up for the children. The wee little vulnerable, innocent, pure-as-driven-snow children. Who in the case of my boys already know most the choice bits of wayward vocabulary (as well as some of the advanced combos), but also know better than to employ them in public.

As those of you who are familiar with my stuff know, I'm not a photographer. So you won't find me proselytizing on such topics as aperture and focal length. But I am a graphic artist and I do have an eye for framing and composition, which is where this article comes in.

Lately, I've been experimenting with the low-angle "hero" shot. By way of contrast, consider the image below. It shows my seven-year-old, Max, building sand trees using a sculptural variation of the Jack-the-dripper technique. For those interested in such things, the technique involves extremely fine, wet sand which is then squeezed though the palm and occasionally whipped at a target, as we see Max doing here. (He's actually amazingly deft at it. I know, I'm the dad so I would say that. But he's as good as me, and I rock at sand trees.) 

The image nicely conveys a moment of dynamic energy. But the story is told from my perspective, the perspective of an adult. Read more » 

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Illustrator Transparency + Photoshop Resolve, Part 1

In this two-part article, we’ll take a low-quality digital photo of my youngest son, Sammy, banging on a hopelessly busted piano:

And transform it into a work of otherworldly vector-based weirdness (below bottom). The primary instrument of this transformation will be Adobe Illustrator’s Transparency palette. But while Illustrator can belt out a medley, can it carry a tune? The answer is, yes, so long as Photoshop oversees the final production.

Here's the idea: Illustrator allows you to assign varying levels of transparency to vector-based objects. That’s great because, as we’ll see, it makes for a remarkably versatile drawing environment. The problem is, Adobe's original vector-based technology, PostScript, doesn’t accommodate transparency. And given that PostScript has long been and continues to be the professional-level commercial reproduction standard, this conflict seems to raise a red flag: How can Illustrator make art that PostScript can't print? Read more » 

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The Making of dekePod Pilot #2: 101 Tips

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Colleen Wheeler. I'm an editor at O'Reilly Media, publisher of Deke's popular (if currently underpopulated) One-on-One books. And for reasons that no one quite remembers, I was put in charge of Deke. It's a big job, but someone has to do it.

Perhaps you've witnessed the resurgence of dekePod. In which case, as with any time you experience a great work of art, you want to know more, be a part of the magic in some way. How did this masterpiece come about? How many thousands of CGI extras suffered heatstroke or severe chapped lips during the arduous making of this video? How did the production team make Deke look like more of a cartoon character than he already is? Well, my friends, not to worry: here is your behind-the-scenes look at the making of dekePod Pilot #2, "101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes." Yes, you're welcome.

It all started with a dream. Then it all started again with the cast of talented professionals meeting in the gorgeous city of San Francisco. Here is the view from the top of the Hyatt, where Big Time Stars like Deke stay when they're in The City, and where they have their editors purchase Bombay Sapphire martinis while they discuss the two days of arduous shooting ahead. Enjoy the swanky view because tomorrow we're going gritty. Read more » 

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101 Photoshop Tips: Transcribed!

On June 24, I and my proud partners will launch the 2008 pilot episode of dekePod, titled "101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes." Half music video, half shortcut free-for-all, half crazy antics (yes, it has three halves), this very special, slightly explicit episode of dekePod is sure to warm the hearts of young and old alike. Honestly, it's magical. Witness me below at the site of our first exterior shoot (as captured by O'Reilly editor Colleen Wheeler). That's not me jumping, that's me momentarily disregarding Earth's gravitational forces. See? Magical.

Anyway, it occurred to the staff here at dekeOnline that the tips might fly by a little quickly. So we thought it wise to publish the verses -- which contain the actual tips -- here at dekeStuff for your amusement. (I thought of including the choruses, but they're mostly just me bragging.) Here goes: Read more » 

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